Top 8 Luxury Destinations of 2018

Are you looking to go on a vacation? If you are, then you might be interested in enjoying a luxury destination. But did you know that the best spots to enjoy can change from year to year? They can depending on recent weather disasters that have temporarily made other destinations less desirable. Recent changes in certain countries’ economies and the introduction of new amenities and services to an area can also make once unfavorable locations much more tourist-friendly. The year of 2018 holds some beautiful luxury vacation spots, and here are eight of the best luxury vacation locations.

  1. Solta, Croatia
    Technology and the businesses that have been built on its back are making some destinations, such as Solta, much easier to navigate than in the past. As Travel and Leisure’s “The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2018” tells, the online ride-sharing business, Uber, has expanded to offering ferry rides via boat. One of the reasons that Solta has been less popular than other locations in Croatia is a lack of transportation, but the ferries are making it easier than ever for tourists to visit. Beyond the increased transportation methods, Solta also offers some of the most beautiful beaches and vineyards around. White beaches, blue waters, and green vineyards offering delicious wines abound in Solta.
  2. Zambia, Africa
    Do you like the idea of going on a safari and seeing some of the animals that are most emblematic of Africa? If you do, Zambia should be at the top of your list. According to Travel and Leisure, not only is Zambia the place to see Wildebeest migrate, but it also has a new lodge that tourists can stay at. So get out your walking boots because Zambia is the place to see large cats, a wide variety of different types of antelope, zebra, and many other species.
  3. Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil
    If you’re most interested in seeing stunning scenery in a lush and warm region with some water spray to keep you cool, Iguazu Falls is a place that you should check out for your next vacation. Not only can you see the waterfalls, but there are plenty of other things to do such as kayaking and exploring the jungle. What really makes this location tourist-friendly, though, is the new resort which will feature all of the typical amenities of a resort including spas and pools.
  1. Siesta Beach, Florida
    If you’re interested in a site for a vacation that you won’t have to get out your passport for, Siesta Beach might be your location. Although Florida has been loved as a sunny getaway for years, Siesta Beach takes one of the leading spots in the world for soft sand which, according to Insider’s 20 Beaches Everyone Will Be Visiting in 2018, has sand that is made of 99% crushed quartz.
  2. Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland
    People who are interested in visiting stunning beaches but are tired of the heat might like Reynisfjara Beach. Iceland is home to some stunning landscapes that can’t be found just anywhere. Most people think of white sand as the ideal, but the black sand that’s found on Reynisfjara Beach is even harder to find and absolutely stunning to look at.
  3. Baia do Sancho, Fernanda de Noronha, Brazil
    If secluded, difficult to get to, but completely worth the effort is something you’re interested in, then Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil is your location. It’s been rated as the best beach in the world, according to Insider. With blue waters, white beaches, and sea life, it’s no wonder why.
  1. Kauai, Hawaii
    If you’re looking for tropical, but you want to stay within the states, Hawaii is a logical destination. According to Island’s 18 Best Places to Travel to in 2018, Kauai is also more accessible than it has been in the past, with Southwest Airlines announcing that it will be flying there via California starting in 2018 and 2019.
  2. The Keys, Florida
    For a vacation that you might not have thought that you would be able to take in a while, the Florida Keys is recovering from Hurricane Irma more quickly than expected, according to Island. Several resorts are reopening and bus lines are ready to ferry tourists.

From the United States to several places in Africa, South America, and even Iceland, there are some great changes that are happening in the world that will make 2018 a great year to travel.

– Abby Drexler is a contributing writer and media specialist for Beach Candy Swimwear. She regularly produces content for a variety of style, lifestyle and travel blogs.

Considering a Safari … If not, add it to your bucket list!

A Bucket List Dream!

I flew from Johannesburg to Madikwe, a private game reserve about one hour away and stayed at the Madikwe Safari Lodge. It is unbelievable to see the animals right there, almost close enough to touch. Before landing, we circled the airstrip to make sure there were no animals on the runway. On the way in from the air strip, we saw zebras (pronounced zay-bras) and elephants. We went out on two game drives each day and we saw elephants, zebras, kudu, gazelles and a leopard. Also, on the drive, our sommelier, Clive, set up a wine tasting in the bush with cheese, crackers, fruit, nuts, meat sticks and Biltong (beef jerky). The stars were beautiful in the clear sky. What a fabulous experience which I would highly recommend.

Being on a private game reserve, if you are trying to see one of the big five, the rangers are allowed to go off the road and into the bush. We were able to do this several times and had the opportunity to see four lions (one male, one female and two young lions). Our ranger explained how the lion will give you three warnings before they will attack. We were also able to see rhinos very close in the bush. These were so exciting, it is hard to explain. It is a trip of a life time!

Visa Free, Hassle Free: Top Three Convenient African Countries for Americans

Africa is a wonderful tourist destination, with rich and varied things to do. The continent boasts spectacular scenery, incredible wildlife and warm hospitality. The number of international tourist arrivals in Africa doubled from 1995 to 2014 and with good reason: improved infrastructure, better safety and overall improvement to the tourist industry thanks to a lot of hard work means that holidays in Africa are better than ever before. But some countries are more accessible than others.

The legal stuff: visas

A US passport allows you to travel to many countries in the world with ease. In 2017, it ranks at number 5 in the Global Passport Index, a list of passports of the world ranked by their visa free score. However, many African countries do require visas for US tourists. Visa application processes can often be expensive and require travel to the nearest consulate, which may be far from where you live. If you want to avoid the hassle then here are three top African countries you can enter visa free.

1) Botswana

Botswana is blessed with amazing wildlife and so is one of the best Safari destinations in Africa. Home to a wide range of national parks and game reserves, Botswana’s uncommon combination of desert and delta is what makes it a unique travel destination. As long as American citizens have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months you can get a visa on arrival that will allow you a stay for a maximum of 3 months.

2) Morocco

A diverse country with everything from dramatic mountain ranges to beautiful ancient cities, Morocco is known for its hospitality. Just a short  ferry ride from Spain, Morocco is the gateway to Africa, with elements of European culture. You could even combine a trip to Morocco with a European tour. US passport holders with at least one blank page can get a 90 day visa on arrival. 

3) Egypt

Egypt is one of the most iconic tourism destinations in the world. With the Nile, the Sphinx, the beguiling desert and the lush Nile delta, an Egyptian holiday is the trip of a lifetime. While a visa for  US citizens on arrival is $25, it might be a better idea to buy a multiple entry permit for $35 in advance of your trip. This is because Egyptian officials have occasionally been known to deny visas with no explanation. For more information, see the Egypt section on the US Department of State’s website

Africa is an up and coming tourism destination and you should take advantage of the current tourist boom for the trip of a lifetime. Traveling visa free saves you money, time and worry so if you are flexible on your exact situation it could be a good idea to head to one of these visa free countries. Have a wonderful trip. 

Written By: Jackie Edwards, freelance contributing writer

LaVonne’s Adventures in Africa

What an exceptional trip and destination.  I would highly recommend this destination for your travels and I will go back whenever I get the opportunity.  While in South Africa I visited the Nelson Mandela statute, homes and Liliesleaf Farm where Mandela and others planned the uprising.  These were very fascinating to visit.  We also went to Soweto, which stands for South West Township, where the black Africans were relocated to in Johannesburg.  I recommend spending two nights in Johannesburg allowing one day to visit all of the Mandela locations.  Then we were off to the Madikwe Private Game Reserve.  The nice thing about private reserves is you have dirt roads and if there is a big five sighting, you can go off road to view the animals.  The lodge was wonderful and our private suites each had a plunge pool on the deck with views of the savannah.  The highlight, besides seeing all the animals, was when our sommelier set up a wine tasting table with hors d’oeuvres out in the bush under the stars.  It was unbelievable.

Following this, we were on to Cape Town.  This is a beautiful city, very easy to get around and again, everyone is very friendly.  Some highlights here are Table Mountain, Robben Island and the water front area.  A few shopping areas are the Watershed and the African Women’s Craft Market.  We traveled down the peninsula and saw the African Penguins (the second smallest in the world) at Boulder’s Beach, stopped at the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point.  Besides wildlife and scenery, there is a very large wine region with excellent wines and the Garden Route.

The last adventure was going to Victoria Falls and seeing it from both the Zambia and Zimbabwe sides.  You get two totally different perspectives of the Falls.  The water flow over the Falls changes according to the time of year with the wet season having the largest flows.  This was spectacular!  We were able to experience a Boma, which is an outdoor event where a meal is prepared and where local entertainment is enjoyed.  

In southern Africa, we were able to try crocodile tail, warthog steaks, Mopani Worms (known as Macimbi), smoked Steenbok, Impala, as well as others.

If you have not considered Africa, add it to your list of places to visit.  It was fantastic!

African Safari Africa Africa Elephants Africa Hippo Lion in Aftica Rhino in Africa Zebras in Africa Africa Sunset Africa Penguins LaVonne Africa Landscape Africa Cape Union

LaVonne Explores South Africa

IMG_4786 IMG_4812 IMG_4818 IMG_4915 Victoria Falls IMG_4726 IMG_4769 IMG_4729What an exceptional trip and destination.  I would highly recommend this destination for your travels and I will go back whenever I get the opportunity.  While in South Africa I visited the Nelson Mandela statute, homes and Liliesleaf Farm where Mandela and others planned the uprising.  These were very fascinating to visit.  We also went to Soweto, which stands for South West Township, where the black Africans were relocated to in Johannesburg.  I recommend spending two nights in Johannesburg allowing one day to visit all of the Mandela locations.  Then we were off to the Madikwe Private Game Reserve.  The nice thing about private reserves is you have dirt roads and if there is a big five sighting, you can go off road to view the animals.  The lodge was wonderful and our private suites each had a plunge pool on the deck with views of the savannah.  The highlight, besides seeing all the animals, was when our sommelier set up a wine tasting table with hors d’oeuvres out in the bush under the stars.  It was unbelievable.

 

Following this, we were on to Cape Town.  This is a beautiful city, very easy to get around and again, everyone is very friendly.  Some highlights here are Table Mountain, Robben Island and the water front area.  A few shopping areas are the Watershed and the African Women’s Craft Market.  We traveled down the peninsula and saw the African Penguins (the second smallest in the world) at Boulder’s Beach, stopped at the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point.  Besides wildlife and scenery, there is a very large wine region with excellent wines and the Garden Route.

 

The last adventure was going to Victoria Falls and seeing it from both the Zambia and Zimbabwe sides.  You get two totally different perspectives of the Falls.  The water flow over the Falls changes according to the time of year with the wet season having the largest flows.  This was spectacular!  We were able to experience a Boma, which is an outdoor event where a meal is prepared and where local entertainment is enjoyed.

 

In southern Africa, we were able to try crocodile tail, warthog steaks, Mopani Worms (known as Macimbi), smoked Steenbok, Impala, as well as others.

 

If you have not considered Africa, add it to your list of places to visit.  It was fantastic!